by Maria Giles-Holland




I waited for St Teresa of Avila or a Marian apparition in spooling breaths on the Sunk Island drain  bloodshot  ecstatic  behind the reed-bedded basins and Greenwich Meridian where farmers dragged black-cross backed donkeys with gold pennies dropping from their ears terns channelled through silted estuary for salt-rusted keys that opened ironwork doorways roads thick-clotted with Fish, Blood and Bone a woman pulled adder skins and washed-up ship metal from the sand I twisted a reed stem until it cracked and the land flattened into horizontal Dutch pieces and saltmarsh yet underneath the silt and soil something crouched smiled

waiting to unravel like Arnolfini’s mirror



gas terminal


someone told me that a set of model horses were dumped on the seabed after Holderness amusements closed not far from the gas terminal intake pipe. I remembered the wax camels at the novelty railway in Blackpool and the artex stalactite cave and animatronic pharaohs in the tunnel of love and I stared terrified of the machinery just beneath the water. maybe those horses had made it this far down with the tide to see how mercury is removed from gas compounds by a molecular sieve and a gas worker panicked when a hoof licked up through the oily membranes and gripped the breakers as anti-terrorism police said a permit was needed to stop there. before 1967 it was parish land. perhaps they swam the length of methane pipeline to sweetening units and the expunging of sulphur by chemical injection and found a polyester static and left their plaster skin to warm in the caustic-sour electric cylinder. at Spurn Point the Humber met the North Sea at high tide and disconnected the peninsula and fossilised horses mid-gallop cradled the side of maersk container ships escorting the gas condensate through the silt. on the edge of Spurn Head amongst fishnet and salt tired plastic came a clump of horsehair and my shoe caught a sticky fibreglass femur rising from the sand


Maria Giles-Holland

April 2019